What was the locker room chemistry like during your time in Philly?
Damaris Johnson: It was great. Everybody was there with one goal of winning. If you look at my first year, we went 4-12 with coach Reid but if you look at a lot of those games they were very close and we had talent. Things just didn’t go our way.
As far as the locker room, it was great playing with guys like Michael Vick, Jason Peters, LeSean McCoy, Brandon Graham, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie just to name a few. They would always compete and be focused on perfecting their craft. We just fell short that season. It was still great to be part of that team and it helped me a lot as a rookie.
Talk about what makes Andy Reid such an offensive mastermind and such a great coach.
Damaris Johnson: He’s just such a players coach. He gives you so much respect, and he’s a respectable person. Guys coach different ways and players respond in different ways but coach Reid is a technician. He always develops and draws up a great gameplan. He also understands it’s not going to work perfectly every time.
You can tell he’s a family-oriented guy. It was tough because that year his son passed away during training camp. He still came in and met with the team to keep us updated. Just watching, you could tell how strong he was. He could’ve just left and gone home, but he still wanted to meet with the team.
He’s great at what he does. I was honored to even have that chance to play for him for just one season. It was so great to watch him win the Super Bowl this past year. He’s been through a lot and people always talked about how he’d won a lot but hadn’t won a Super Bowl. By winning it all this year, it felt great just to watch him do that.
Tell us about some times of adversity during your career that you had to overcome.
Damaris Johnson: To start off, I went to Philly for my first year and played under coach Reid. He knew I had the ability and for him, he had an “if you can play, then you can play” mentality. My size didn’t matter to him. I was the starting punt returner and played quite a bit on offense that year. He gave me a chance, and I really did well.
I was hoping to build off of my rookie season but things changed after coach Reid left. I really thought I would thrive in Chip Kelly’s offense, but he just had a different take on it and a different coaching philosophy. I didn’t play as much even though I was doing well in practice and my fellow receivers were saying I should get more playing time.
It was tough knowing that I had the ability to play well and had the support of my teammates but still didn’t see the field much. I wanted that opportunity to build off of my rookie season but things just didn’t fall into place.